Andrew Percy – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Percy on 2015-10-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of vedolizumab as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.

George Freeman

Information is not collected centrally on the number of people prescribed medicines or the medical condition being treated.

Some data is available for the administration of vedolizumab however this data does not correspond to patient numbers nor can it be linked to the treatment of specific diseases. Some information on cost is also available but this is the cost of the medicines at NHS list price and not necessarily the price that hospitals paid.

In guidance published in August 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advised that vedolizumab is the recommended treatment for adults with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease if a type of treatment called a tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitor is not suitable or has not worked well enough. NICE also recommend vedolizumab as a possible treatment for adults with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in separate guidance published on 5 June 2015.

In both cases, people should be able to have vedolizumab until it stops working, or surgery is needed, or for 12 months after starting it, whichever is shorter. Their condition should be assessed 12 months after they started taking vedolizumab. If they still have symptoms but it is clear that the treatment is helping, they can continue to have the drug. If they no longer have symptoms, treatment can be stopped, and later restarted if their symptoms return. Drugs recommended by NICE should be available on the NHS within three months of the technology appraisal guidance being issued.

NICE has set out best practice in the diagnosis, treatment care and support of patients with Crohn’s diseases and ulcerative colitis in its guidance Crohn’s Disease Management in Adults, Children and Young People in October 2012, and Ulcerative Colitis Management in Adults, Children and Young People , published in June 2013. Treatment for both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is largely directed at symptom relief to improve quality of life, rather than cure. Management options include drug therapy, dietary and lifestyle advice and, in severe or chronic active disease, surgery.